Summer Plumbing Tips

roys plumbing technician image 03

With the summer heat come pool parties and barbecues- a season of fun where we heavily rely on the convenience of air conditioning and functioning plumbing. It’s easy to neglect some home maintenance when you’re planning vacations, but you don’t want to deal with clogged plumbing and sweltering heat. Something as simple as a slow drain can eventually have you dealing with backed up sewage, and suddenly what could have been a simple fix, now requires an intensive cleaning from your sewer company. The good news is that it’s easy to avoid flooding your home with backed up sewage; it just means listening to what your drains are trying to tell you. Actively monitoring and cleaning your drains means there’s less of a chance for anything to build up inside your pipes in the first place.

Some Helpful Advice

Since a home is usually more active in the summer that means your plumbing is really put to use, and it has needs. Using outdoor sprinklers, taking multiple showers, filling up the pool, or just leaving everything untouched while on vacation, can take a toll on your plumbing. Before you relax and soak up some sunshine, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Inspect your hoses and valves. When winter hits, people are concerned about frozen pipes, but the summer season poses some problems. One of the biggest causes of floods in the summer has to deal with your washing machine hose, one of the weakest links in the plumbing system. Make sure all your hoses have a tight fit and to turn on and off every valve to make sure they’re functioning correctly.
  • Check your water heater. Since people tend to use less hot water in the summer, now is the perfect time to check your water heater. Make sure to look at the water heater’s anode rod, which protects your heater from rust and corrosion. If anything needs to be replaced, it’s best to do it in the summer when the demand for heated water is much less than in the winter season.
  • Check your water pressure. Whether you’re home or away on vacation, your plumbing remains pressurized, and unused sinks and toilets will build up a pressure in the system. It’s a good idea to have a plumber come check your water pressure. If your water pressure is over 55-65 psi, it’s time to get a pressure regulator.
  • Make your trash cans visible. This one might have you scratching your head, but with summertime visitors, that sometimes means people flushing things that don’t belong down the toilet. Making sure you have empty and accessible trash cans in your bathrooms can prevent debris from clogging your toilets.
  • Turn things off when you leave for vacation. Pressure builds in your pipes from a lack of using them. If you plan on being out of town for an extended period of time, make sure to turn off your system entirely by using the master water shut-off switch.
  • Install a backup system for your sump pump. Sump pumps are made to collect any extra water accumulated to avoid flooding. Since sump pumps are power activated, it’s best to have a battery backup system installed in case of any power outages. This way even when the power’s out, your sump pump can continue to pump out any excess water from flooding your basement.

Warning Signs of Damaged Plumbing

Sometimes being careful isn’t enough and you end up with some nasty clogged plumbing anyway. It’s still important to catch the signs of damaged or clogged plumbing before something worse happens. Here’s what you need to look for:

  • Slow drain. The most common sign that something’s up with your plumbing is a sink, tub, or toilet that’s slow to drain. A slow drain usually means there is some sort of build up inside your pipes that need cleaning.
  • Bubbles in the toilet. Try running the sink closest to your toilet. If you notice bubbles or the water level rising inside the toilet, that means there’s a clog somewhere and the drain is struggling to do its job.
  • Gurgling toilet. If you just finished washing a load of laundry and you hear a peculiar sound coming from your toilet, almost as if it was mimicking your coffeemaker, you probably have some clogged plumbing to deal with.
  • Tree roots. The primary cause of a clogged sewer line comes from tree roots. If your home is old, there’s a good chance the trees in your yard are crushing those old pipes causing further damaged plumbing.

What You Need to Do If You Have Damaged Plumbing

If you don’t know what to do or you’re afraid of making things worse, call a plumber. Plumbers have the right tools and they know what to look for. Sometimes the issue might be as simple as using a plunger or chemical drain cleaner, but plungers can only reach what’s on the surface, and chemical drain cleaners are very toxic and slowly corrode your pipes.  If there’s a serious clog or blockage, your plumber can use a plumbing snake or a hydro-jet to get to it.

Saving money is great, but DIY fixes can lead to more problems, and sometimes the problem is too unique to fix on your own. If you notice anything off with your plumbing, don’t hesitate to contact Roy’s Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling today! The sooner you act, the lesser the cost.